Director of Football keen to build momentumFollowing the Grecians’ first win of the season away at Cambridge United on Tuesday evening, Director of Football Steve Perryman is keen to make sure that Exeter can continue that good work and turn in a comparable display against Tranmere on Saturday.
City had to come from a goal down to secure a 2-1 win at the Abbey Stadium, and turned in their most accomplished performance of the year en route to the three points.
That was particularly marked because of the Grecians’ position in the League 2 table – despite being in the lower ebb of the division, City played football in a way which belied their previous results to secure the victory.
Steve is keen to make sure that the midweek win isn’t just a flash in the pan, and that they can turn in more of the same in the coming weeks – starting at Prenton Park.
“[Cambridge] were flying high off the back of a good away win at Dagenham, and there was an air of confidence about that place,” explained Steve.
“When they scored as easily as they did, it sort of underlined to them that ‘this is our night’. So we wrestled it back from that situation, and did it with a passing-moving quality that was a joy to watch really.
“We didn’t panic – there were lots of good things about that performance, and of course we have to take some of that forward. There’s no good doing that for one game and then not doing it again for another six or seven – that wouldn’t be great.
“We have to take it into our next performance and work off the back of it.
“I watch the work that Tis is doing day-in, day-out and see the messages that he is putting across, and it came to fruition the other night.
“Perhaps there is a greater understanding because with more weeks, the more training sessions you do. But there were no doubts in the players’ minds the other evening how we were going to try and win that game.”
The added narrative to the fixture at Tranmere is a meeting with former City assistant Rob Edwards, who now manages Rovers.
Rob left St James Park in the summer after spending eight years as a player and coach at the club, embarking on his first steps as a manager in his own right.
The opposing managers will know plenty about each other’s thoughts and opinions – Rob in particular is familiar with a number of the Exeter players’ games – and that could add an extra dimension to the game.
But Perryman feels that City may be able to disrupt any of the expectations that the Prenton Park staff might have of Exeter.
“He’s well into the job and enjoying it, and he’ll try to make it hard for us – and especially hard because of the knowledge he has of most of our players,” said Steve.
“That said, maybe on the back of that we can have some surprises up our sleeves for him, and certainly off the back of the confidence that we got from the performance on Tuesday [at Cambridge].
“And there are one or two there that he doesn’t know about in Christian Ribeiro, Alex Nicholls and Graham Cummins. The front line will be new to Rob, but maybe some of the others can put on a show for him as well.”
For Steve, it was no great surprise to see Edwards seek pastures new in the summer as he looked to further his career.
He feels that the opening at Tranmere, following the dismissal of Ronnie Moore, has been a good chance for the Kendal-born man to try his arm at club management.
Steve continued: “Perhaps he felt that he had done his time in the trenches, where you’re doing a bit of everything and you’re not quite at the sharp end of it.
“Eventually you wonder how it would be if you were at the sharp end, and that’s how any man considering taking the last step into being a manager has got to then deal with.
“When you’re at the sharp end, it’s great when you’re getting results – it’s not so great when you’re not! You can sit in the staff-room when Tis has got to deal with press and the aftermath of a game and think, ‘it’s a good job I’m not the manager today!’
“Then there are occasions like Tuesday night when you wish you were the manager, because you’re so proud of what you’ve just witnessed.
“The longer Rob was in our assistant’s job, he was getting a stronger voice and a stronger opinion and it was obvious he was sorting out in his own mind how he would run his team. And what a great chance for him to go and do it.”